Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Hello All,

I was very excited when this title, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, appeared in a box of advance readers' copies! I've read two previous Erik Larson titles, Isaac's Storm and In the Garden of Beasts, so I knew this would be an interesting read.

No judgment please, but I had forgotten the complete history of the Lusitania; I started reading this without a recollection of the full story. And another thing that a reader gets with an Erik Larson book--an excellent sense of impending doom. I don't always like the feeling, but it definitely keeps the reader reading!

Mr. Larson tells Dead Wake from several sides: the Germans and their U boat directives; the British Admiralty and their decisions about passenger/merchant ships and protection under wartime conditions; the Lusitania's captain, William Thomas Turner, and the passengers. I felt that I received a very full sense of what was going on with WWI at that specific time (May 1915), and with each of these sides as the Lusitania sailed across the Atlantic.

I was surprised (remember, no judgment) and saddened by the Lusitania's torpedoing and sinking, though I did suspect what was going to happen. The sequence of events were suspenseful, very descriptive, but matter-of-fact in tone.

The resulting actions of the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd  and the Admiralty of the Royal Navy were appalling to me, especially against the captain of the ship. I do understand that it was wartime, but the trials and secrecy and rush to judgment immediately following the loss of the ship vs delayed final resolution was mind-boggling.

I highly recommend Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
and the other mentioned above by Erik Larson. May all your travels be safe ones.

Happy Reading,

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Crown Publishing, March 10, 2015, 9780307408860

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.